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DPChallenge Forums >> Tips, Tricks, and Q&A >> Hmmm
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08/14/2002 02:37:17 AM · #1
I am new to the whole digital picture scene. I like to take pictures and nothing too professional. But I had a question about taking pictures on my camera. I just bought me a digital camera about 5 days ago. I don't quite know how to use it, but some of the pictures I've seen on here are really close up and really sharp and clear. When I try to take close-ups, I have kinda jaggy edges. I don't know if my camera isn't too high end or if I just don't know how to work the focus yet, or what. Does anybody have any focusing tips that I could use?
08/14/2002 02:47:24 AM · #2
I also am VERY new at the whole digital camera thing. I have a 2.1 mp camera and I have the close up problem too. My "poor mans trick" is this...
I take the zoom and put it on 2.5X and then I put one of those cheap-o magnifying glasses like you use in science class in high school and I put that right up to the lens. I back up from the subject a bit and shoot. Also, I found that close ups like that really really rely on a steady camera, the slightest twitch at that angle really messes things up. I should mention that I have automatic zoom on my camera, and other than changing it from 1.5 to 2 to 2.5, I have NO other control of the zoom. Wish I had one of those manual zoom cameras. Anyway, I'm not sure if that may help you or not, but it would be worth a try...it REALLY works for me. I don't go anywhere without it.
Hope it helps,
~Heather~

* This message has been edited by the author on 8/14/2002 2:47:04 AM.
08/14/2002 02:52:20 AM · #3
Originally posted by Jubei Kibagami:
I am new to the whole digital picture scene. I like to take pictures and nothing too professional. But I had a question about taking pictures on my camera. I just bought me a digital camera about 5 days ago. I don't quite know how to use it, but some of the pictures I've seen on here are really close up and really sharp and clear. When I try to take close-ups, I have kinda jaggy edges. I don't know if my camera isn't too high end or if I just don't know how to work the focus yet, or what. Does anybody have any focusing tips that I could use?

First of all, welcome! Start by setting your camera to its highest-resolution/quality settings. You should have a setting for about 1800+ pixels in the longer direction; use that with best-quality JPEG. That will give you the most data to work with later.

Most cameras will start up in fully automatic mode. They usually auto-focus when you depress the shutter-release button partway. You will probably hear the mechanism make a faint noise. Then fully depress the shutter-release to take the photo. BEWARE: most digital cameras have a notoriously long "lag time" -- you push the shutter-release, wait a moment, start to lower the camera and then hear the shutter snap. Hold real still for a long time...

Also, check what's the closest subject you can photograph with your lens. There will usually be a "Macro Mode" which allows you to get closer; on my camera to use that mode you MUST frame the picture with the LCD screen, not the viewfinder.
08/14/2002 03:27:36 AM · #4
Thanks for the help. I'll try that highest setting at 4 megapixels, or should I do something a little smaller? If I do that I'm not to sure on how to make the file smaller without messing up the metadata for the site. Or if that even matters, I don't even know what it is. Also I just found the MF button on the camera and when I do that it makes this wierd noise as its adjusting, is that normal or will it where the camera out if I play with that too much?
08/14/2002 03:29:28 AM · #5
Originally posted by hbunch7187:
I also am VERY new at the whole digital camera thing. I have a 2.1 mp camera and I have the close up problem too. My "poor mans trick" is this...
I take the zoom and put it on 2.5X and then I put one of those cheap-o magnifying glasses like you use in science class in high school and I put that right up to the lens. I back up from the subject a bit and shoot.


Here is a special-effect shot I made with a fifty-cent "kaleidoscope."

Also, I found that close ups like that really really rely on a steady camera, the slightest twitch at that angle really messes things up...it REALLY works for me. I don't go anywhere without it.
Hope it helps,
~Heather


If your camera has a timer, try setting up your shot with a tripod or beanbag and then use the timer to trip the exposure.
08/14/2002 02:42:26 PM · #6
When it comes to working with your images be sure to save a copy of your originals to work on and save. That way any changes you make won't effect the original file. The original file will always contain the EXIF data as long as you don't make changes to it.

T
08/14/2002 08:21:02 PM · #7


If your camera has a timer, try setting up your shot with a tripod or beanbag and then use the timer to trip the exposure.


Pardon my ignorance(again)but what is a "Beanbag". Is that a special camera thing? I know what a sit on bean bag is, but I was wondering if you're talking about a different bean bag, and how do you use it?
Again, sorry for sounding so stupid.
~Heather~
08/14/2002 09:35:58 PM · #8
Originally posted by hbunch7187:
[i]

If your camera has a timer, try setting up your shot with a tripod or beanbag and then use the timer to trip the exposure.


Pardon my ignorance(again)but what is a "Beanbag". Is that a special camera thing? I know what a sit on bean bag is, but I was wondering if you're talking about a different bean bag, and how do you use it?
Again, sorry for sounding so stupid.
~Heather~[/i]

Don't feel bad - that's the only beanbag i know of

08/14/2002 10:09:21 PM · #9
Originally posted by TerryGee:
Originally posted by hbunch7187:
[i][i]

If your camera has a timer, try setting up your shot with a tripod or beanbag and then use the timer to trip the exposure.


Pardon my ignorance(again)but what is a "Beanbag". Is that a special camera thing? I know what a sit on bean bag is, but I was wondering if you're talking about a different bean bag, and how do you use it?
Again, sorry for sounding so stupid.
~Heather~[/i]

Don't feel bad - that's the only beanbag i know of

[/i]


You get little beanbags too, about the size of a book.

08/14/2002 10:16:19 PM · #10
You can get small beanbags that fits in a camera bag or jacket pocket... Lay it on a flat surface and plop your camera on it... They absorb vibrations pretty well and can keep a camera steady even on uneven, or rocky surfaces... I haven't used one in decades, but I use to use it all the time... I have to get one now :)

Originally posted by hbunch7187:
Pardon my ignorance(again)but what is a "Beanbag". Is that a special camera thing?



* This message has been edited by the author on 8/14/2002 10:15:42 PM.
08/15/2002 06:05:09 AM · #11
Photographers sometimes carry mini-tripods or little beanbags with them. They're used to put the camera on to keep it steady.

If you're shooting in bad light at all you'll need to keep the camera *really* still or you'll get a blurred image. Beanbags are just easier to carry than a full tripod.

Jubei said
but some of the pictures I've seen on here are really close up and really sharp and clear. When I try to take close-ups, I have kinda jaggy edges. I don't know if my camera isn't too high end or if I just don't know how to work the focus yet, or what. Does anybody have any focusing tips that I could use?

As well as setting your camera to it's highest quality setting you should also make sure you're not using any kind of digital zoom. Most digital cameras that have a zoom facility will have both optical and digital zooms. Optical zoom simply means that the camera moves the physical lenses around to zoom in or out. Digital zoom is usually engaged when the optical zoom is zoomed in as far as it will go. What digital zoom does is "crop" closer into the picture and blow it up. Since there are no more actual pixels in a digitally zoomed picture this is usually a bad idea and it can make your pictures look very blurry.

Most cameras that have a digital zoom feature also have a way of disabling it so that you won't accidentally use it.

The final thing you should look for on your camera is a macro mode. That's usually represented as a little flower icon. When you want to get in close to something turn on the macro mode. It'll change the way your camera does it's focussing and you should be able to get much closer to things and have the camera still focus properly.

When you use macro mode you should start zoomed right OUT since this will let you get physically closer to your subject. As you zoom in you'll find that you have to be further from your subject in order for your camera to get a focus lock.

Regards,
John
08/15/2002 10:23:05 AM · #12
Thanks for the tips John. I disabled the digital zoom when I first got the camera. I am slowly figuring out the macro thing. I think I can get about 6 inches away without it blurring. I thought I could make it look closer if I took the picture at the 4 or 3 megapixel modes and then crop the picture to make it look closer. Is it against the rules of the site to crop pictures before you upload them?
08/15/2002 10:35:28 AM · #13
cropping is allowed
08/15/2002 11:01:06 AM · #14
Beanbag Tutorial:

Acquire a bit of fabric (cotton, knit, polyester, the sleeve of an old shirt).

Sew three sides together so it resembles a pillowcase form (use needle and thread, iron-on tape, fabric glue, sewing machine).

Fill with small beans (lentils work well) or pellets (tiny plastic bits used to fill stuffed animals and available at fabric and/or craft stores)

Close the top using one of the methods above.

You may want several. Some small enough to lift/anchor items in the photo and some large enough to provide a base for your camera.

Even a 10-thumbed anti-domestic can handle this, and be happy with the results.
08/15/2002 11:29:22 AM · #15
Originally posted by crisa58:
Beanbag Tutorial:
...
Even a 10-thumbed anti-domestic can handle this, and be happy with the results.


But it involves sewing! I doubt I could even *find* a needle and thread let alone sew something without stabbing myself a hundred times.

Can't I just go to the camera shop and buy one? Please?

John
08/15/2002 11:44:44 AM · #16
oops. sorry.



* This message has been edited by the author on 8/15/2002 11:46:20 AM.
08/15/2002 11:45:14 AM · #17
No, you ten-thumbed anti-domestic. I knew this would draw you out of your hidey hole!

Go back and read the directions again. You'll see I also recommend fabric GLUE and IRON-ON adhesive tape (Now it's a special kind of tape, don't use duct tape and an iron or I'm not responsible!!)

:>))

Sides, this'll save you $$ for better filters.
08/15/2002 11:50:04 AM · #18
Just buy a beanie baby that looks cool and carry it around. After alienating all your friends by hanging out in DP Challenge all the time and begging them to take their picture it may be the only company you have left :-)
08/15/2002 12:03:34 PM · #19
Originally posted by hokie:
Just buy a beanie baby .

Hey thats what I was going to say!




* This message has been edited by the author on 8/15/2002 12:04:08 PM.
08/15/2002 12:40:57 PM · #20
Darn it, me too.
My beanbag for Africa last year was a little pink piggy!
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